Nancy Paulsen Books (2013)

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A compelling and inventive novel set in a world where science and magic are at odds, by Robin McKinley, the Newbery-winning author of The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, as well as the classic titles Beauty, Chalice, Spindle’s End, Pegasus and Sunshine

Maggie knows something’s off about Val, her mom’s new husband. Val is from Oldworld, where they still use magic, and he won’t have any tech in his office-shed behind the house. But—more importantly—what are the huge, horrible, jagged, jumpy shadows following him around? Magic is illegal in Newworld, which is all about science. The magic-carrying gene was disabled two generations ago, back when Maggie’s great-grandmother was a notable magician. But that was a long time ago.

Then Maggie meets Casimir, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen. He’s from Oldworld too—and he’s heard of Maggie’s stepfather, and has a guess about Val’s shadows. Maggie doesn’t want to know . . . until earth-shattering events force her to depend on Val and his shadows. And perhaps on her own heritage.

In this dangerously unstable world, neither science nor magic has the necessary answers, but a truce between them is impossible. And although the two are supposed to be incompatible, Maggie’s discovering the world will need both to survive.


Putnam (November 2010)

A gorgeously-written fantasy about the friendship between a princess and her pegasus

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pegasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.

But it’s different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close—so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo—and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.

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Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits
by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson

Putnam (October 29, 2009). Available from

Master storytellers Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson, the team behind Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits collaborate again to create five captivating tales incorporating the element of fire.

In McKinley's "First Flight," a boy and his pet foogit unexpectedly take a dangerous ride on a dragon, and her "Hellhound" stars a mysterious dog as a key player in an eerie graveyard showdown. Dickinson introduces a young man who must defeat the creature threatening his clan in "Fireworm," a slave who saves his village with a fiery magic spell in "Salamander Man," and a girl whose new friend, the guardian of a mystical bird, is much older than he appears in "Phoenix."

With time periods ranging from prehistoric to present day, and settings as varied as a graveyard, a medieval marketplace and a dragon academy, these stories are sure to intrigue and delight the authors' longtime fans and newcomers alike.

"McKinley and Dickinson follow up their previous collaborative work, WATER: TALES OF ELEMENTAL SPIRITS with this collection. . . . Dickinson's stories are told with a storyteller's cadence while McKinley's are modern and humorous, but all five are masterful in character, setting, and plot." Booklist

"In this companion to WATER, McKinley and Dickinson explore the range of their storytelling abilities. The settings of these five tales range from ancient to modern, but they are all united by encounters with magical creatures with an affinity for fire. . . This collection of beautifully crafted tales will find a warm welcome from fans of either author, as well as from fantasy readers in general." School Library Journal

"A great book to turn to after JK Rowling's Harry Potter . . . this collection . . . offers something for every fantasy fan. . . . Especially notable were McKinley's "Hellhound" and "First Flight", which contain realistic, appealing characters and everyday struggles that blend seamlessly with fantasy elements. . . . This collection is a good way to entice reluctant readers, as the stories are short, clearly written, and engaging. Recommended." Library Media Connection

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Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits (2009)

Putnam (October 29, 2009). Reissued with a new introduction.

What magical beings inhabit earth's waters? Some are as almost-familiar as the mer people; some as strange as the thing glimpsed only as a golden eye in a pool at the edge of Damar's Great Desert Kalarsham.

Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson have produced six stories of the fabulous creatures associated with the element of water.

"Mesmerizing . . . Very hard to put down." Booklist, starred review

"Enchanting tales . . . suspenseful, chilling, and wonderfully supernatural." Publishers Weekly, starred review

Chalice (2008)

Putnam (September 18, 2008). Available from Amazon US

"A lavish and lasting treat." Publishers Weekly

As the newly appointed Chalice, Mirasol is the most important member of the Master's Circle. It is her duty to bind the Circle, the land and its people together with their new Master. But the new Master of Willowlands is a Priest of Fire, only drawn back into the human world by the sudden death of his brother. No one knows if it is even possible for him to live amongst his people. Mirasol wants the Master to have his chance, but her only training is as a beekeeper. How can she help settle their demesne during these troubled times and bind it to a Priest of Fire, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone?

Robin McKinley weaves a captivating tale that reveals the healing power of duty and honor, love and honey.

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Dragonhaven (2007)

Ace paperback (September 30, 2008). Available from Amazon US .

Dragons are extinct in the wild, but the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park is home to about two hundred of the world's remaining Draco australiensis. Humans have never seen a baby dragon . . . until Jake discovers a dying dragon that has just given birth, and one of the dragonlets is still alive.

"A sharply incisive, wildly intelligent dragon fantasy. . . . Penetratingly insightful . . . Quietly magnificent." Kirkus, starred review

"McKinley renders her imagined universe so potently that readers will wish they could book their next vacation in Smokehill." Publishers Weekly, starred review

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Sunshine Reloaded (2008)

Sunshine originally appeared in 2003. Reissued by Berkley Trade (October 7, 2008) and Transworld/Bantam UK (August 14, 2008). Available from Amazon US

Rae, nicknamed Sunshine by her stepfather, is the baker at her family's coffeehouse. She's happy getting up at 4 am to make cinnamon rolls for the breakfast rush, and dealing with people and food all day. But one evening she needed somewhere she could be alone for a little while, and there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years.
    She never thought of vampires.
    Until they found her.

"Sunshine is a gripping, funny, page-turning, pretty much perfect work of magical literature that exists more or less at the unlikely crossroads of Chocolat, Interview with the Vampire, Misery, and the tale of Beauty and the Beast." Neil Gaiman

"McKinley knows very well—and makes her readers believe—that ‘the insides of our own minds are the scariest things there are.'" Publishers Weekly, starred review

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Spindle's End (2000)

All the creatures of forest, field and riverbank knew the baby was special. She was the princess Briar-Rose, cursed by the evil fairy Pernicia on her name-day. But Katriona stole her away to the small village where Kat lives with her aunt, and they raise the princess as if she were their own. No other human, not even Rosie herself, knows her true identity.
    But Pernicia is looking for her, and two village fairies and all the animals in the realm may not be enough to save her.

"Dense with magical detail and all-too-human feeling, this luscious, lengthy novel is almost impossible to rush through. By the end of this journey through an enchanted land—so thick with magic dust that good housekeeping remains a constant challenge—readers will feel that they know it as well as their own back yards." Publishers Weekly, starred review

Rose Daughter (1997)

When their father's business fails, three sisters move to a tiny neglected cottage far away from anything they have ever known. Beauty tends the awkward, unknown, thorny plants that surround it, and when they bloom the following summer an old woman tells her: "Roses are for love. Not silly sweethearts' love but the love that makes you and keeps you whole. . . there aren't many roses around any more because they need more love than people have to give them to make them flower."
    And when Beauty takes her father's place at the terrifying Beast's palace she discovers that the Beast's beloved rose garden is dying. . . .

"Every sentence and every occurrence seems infused by magic. I will keep this book. I will reread it, time and again; it has earned its place as one of my odd coterie of bedside companions." Fantasy and Science Fiction

"Readers will be enchanted, in the best sense of the word." Booklist

A Knot in the Grain (1994)

Five tales: A young woman with the power to heal, but no power of speech, meets a mage who has lost—or renounced—his powers; a princess who is chained inside a cave as a sacrifice to a monster finds he is no monster; a troll bargains for a human wife, but will not hold her against her will; an old farmer releases a curse on his own land for love of his beautiful young wife; and a young girl finds a mysterious box in the attic of her family's new house.

"McKinley has an apparently effortless style, fresh, original ideas, a romantic outlook and an ability to evoke wonder and belief." The Horn Book

Deerskin (1993)

As Princess Lissla Lissar reaches womanhood, it is clear to all the kingdom that in her beauty she is the image of her dead mother, the queen. But this likeness forces her to flee from her father's lust and madness; and in the pain and horror of that flight she forgets who she is and what it is she flees from: forgets almost everything but the love and loyalty of her dog, Ash, who accompanies her. But a chance encounter on the road leads to a job in another king's kennels, where the prince finds himself falling in love with the new kennel maid . . . and one day he tells her of a princess named Lissla Lissar, who had a dog named Ash.

"Deerskin is a subversive fairytale with an element of myth, but most of all it is a psychological novel of great depth and power, using fantasy in the service of truth." Locus

" . . . McKinley turns her storytelling acumen and stylistic grace toward an adult audience, handling incest and rape with unflinching honesty while . . . building a case for hope and renewal." Library Journal

The Outlaws of Sherwood (1988)

Robin is an apprentice forester in the woods of Nottingham, but the sheriff's men harass him at every opportunity. When he accidentally kills a man in self-defense, he flees into Sherwood Forest, knowing he will live the rest of his days as a hunted man.
    But his friends believe the disaster is also an opportunity: an opportunity for a few stubborn Saxons to gather in secret under Robin's leadership and strike back against the arrogance and brutality of the Norman overlords.

"In the tradition of T H White's reincarnation of King Arthur, a novel that brings Robin Hood and his men—and women—delightfully to life. . . ." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"A great read" Chicago Tribune

Imaginary Lands (1986)

It was on a ferry ride to Manhattan that the idea for this anthology was conceived: Sometimes the ground the characters of a story walk on is no more than that; but sometimes the landscape is a character in its own right. Nine writers, including James P. Blaylock, Peter Dickinson, Patricia A. McKillip, P C Hodgell and the editor, Robin McKinley, have written stories where the land is crucial to the tale: the armchair traveller will find the best of fantasy on this grand tour of imaginary lands.

The Hero and the Crown (1985)

Newbery Award, 1985.

There is no place in the country of Damar for Aerin, the king's daughter, who is also the daughter of a witchwoman; and so she befriends her father's crippled war-horse, Talat, and teases her cousin Tor into teaching her to handle a sword.
    But it is Aerin who rediscovers the old recipe for dragonfire-proof kenet, and when the army is called away to the other side of the country, it is she who, alone but for Talat, rides out to confront Maur, the Black Dragon, the last of the Great Dragons, for centuries thought dead.

"Confirms McKinley as an important writer of modern heroic fantasy, a genre whose giants include C S Lewis, J R R Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin . . . " The Washington Post

" . . . an utterly engrossing fantasy." The New York Times

The Blue Sword (1982)

Newbery Honor Book, 1983.

This is the story of Corlath, golden-eyed king of the Free Hillfok, son of the sons of the Lady Aerin.
    And this is the story of Harry Crewe, the Outlander orphan girl who became Harimad-sol, King's Rider, and bearer of the Blue Sword, Gonturan, the sword Lady Aerin carried, the sword only a woman may wield, for it will turn in the hand of a man.

"Any book that, at one point or another, reminded me of The Sheikh, Gunga Din, Islandia, and The Lord of the Rings can't be anything but a true original." Asimov's Science Fiction

"This is a zesty, romantic heroic fantasy with an appealingly stalwart heroine, a finely realized mythical kingdom, and a grounding in reality that enhances the tale's verve as a fantasy." Booklist (starred review)

The Door in the Hedge (1981)

"She took a deep breath, and stepped through the door in the hedge."
    Four tales of stolen princesses, magical hinds, talking frogs, and dancing princesses, on the far side of the door into faeryland.

"She knows her geography of fantasy, the nuances of the language, the atmosphere of magic where running deer become beautiful maidens and frogs handsome princes." The Washington Post

"McKinley . . . is afraid neither of great beauty nor of great evil. She has the gift of taking . . . stories and retelling them with love. . . ." Science Fiction Review

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (1978)

Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are beautiful. But what she lacks in looks she can perhaps make up for in courage.
    When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty declares she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will.

"A captivating novel" Booklist

"A splendid story" Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A remarkable achievement . . . told in a sophisticated, graceful and accomplished prose" Books for Keeps


Pegasus (2010)
Fire (2009)
Water (2009)
Chalice (2008)
Dragonhaven (2007)
Sunshine (2003)
Spindle's End (2000)
Rose Daughter (1997)
A Knot in the Grain (1994)
Deerskin (1993)
The Outlaws of Sherwood (1988)
Imaginary Lands (1986)
The Hero and the Crown (1985)
The Blue Sword (1982)
The Door in the Hedge (1981)
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (1978)